It’s the new Havana! Newly recharged with actual Cuban food on the menu, courtesy of the group behind Postmark, Belgard Kitchen, etc. I stopped in for a Cubano to see what Andrew Morrison was raving about. In a nutshell: very good except the pickle element rolled over and died. Plantain chips were excellent.
Even though Bun Cha Hoang Yen down the block and across the street gets all the lineups and attention with their dill noodle, Cafe Dang Anh has been quietly getting some attention too. They serve a similar Vietnamese soup noodle with dill. Is it as good?
I asked my Instagram followers where to go for lunch in a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure”-style Instagram Stories poll that went “Food Truck or Resto”, then “Superbaba or Marimba”. Superbaba won! Here’s the aftermath.
Two very different takes on Lebanese flatbread, both within a couple blocks of each other on Davie St. Let’s do this!
Seems like banh mi is having a bit of a resurgence! In addition to Banh Mi Yen Linh (Kingsway & St. Catherines), the new second location of Ba Le (Broadway & Fraser), and the new Chinatown location of DD Mau, a new “modern” banh mi place has taken over the old Tung Hing space on Kingsway & Inverness called “Bean Bánh Mì“. Why “bean”? It’s a family operation and “bean” (đậu) is the son’s nickname which in Vietnamese also means good fortune or prosperity or something like that ;). So they’ve ran with the whole “bean” theme in their marketing. Wicca and I checked them out during their first week of operation.
NOTE: they’re still in their soft opening phase, so things probably will change and hopefully improve!
In a nutshell: the bread needs a lot of work. Some components need to be tweaked. But a promising start with a lot of heart.
Few things have that uneasy mixture of luxury, guilt, and controversy as king crab does. Like spot prawns now, there used to be a mad king crab season rush in the Lower Mainland. But because we can’t have nice things, king crab prices are high and supply has become questionable (and possible illegal). So on that note, we recently celebrated a family reunion of sorts with king crab. I didn’t even see a menu during this dinner. My dad and relatives ordered, my dad paid, and I ate and appreciated like a number one son.
I purposely read very little about JC Poirier’s St. Lawrence restaurant, trying to ignore all the awards and acolades it’s won. (The most recent being JC being named one of the Foodies of the Year by Western Living Magazine. Side note: it feels like Western Living is stretching when they anoint the Superflux guys as being “Chill AF Dudes”…VanMag maybe, but Western Living?? Using “AF”??? Disclosure: I sometimes shoot photos for Superflux and they are indeed chill AF dudes.)
So walking in with no real expectations except for that JC has been part of some of the city’s best restaurants (Pourhouse, Pizzeria Farina, Ask for Luigi, Di Beppe), I thought, “how good can it be?”
Solid. Not exceptional but good enough. Lots of staff and responsive service. Huge menu. Faint smell of gas/butane in the air. Not “this restaurant’s gonna blow” level of smell, but “you gotta get that checked out” kind of smell. Read on for the deets on this quick little dinner!
Cuban food is pretty hard to find in Vancouver. I haven’t tried Havana on Commercial Drive, but since it’s been taken over by Postmark/Belgard Kitchen/Vancouver Urban Winery group, I’m not sure what’s to come of it. I always thought it might be the Cuban equivalent of The Reef — a smoothed-out, shaved-off mainstream rendition of “ethnic” food. The Las Margaritas of Cuban restaurants, if you will. Well, there’s an actual hole-in-the-wall, homey Cuban restaurant on Commercial Drive now called Varadero Cafe. It’s been open since July 2017 and word-of-mouth has been promising. Moyenchow and I checked it out. If you’re into the starch-heavy, laidback seasoning that’s typical of Cuban cuisine, you’ll like this place. This small initial visit is positive.
The food at Kabsa House on Robson St. has a lot of similarities with local Persian restaurants like Zeitoon and Cazba (of which “Kabsa” is a near anagram of). There’s a focus on rice and kabobs (skewers), but with the addition of rotisserie chicken and a few other Saudi Arabian/Gulf touches. Food was generally good, but slightly higher prices and slightly smaller serving sizes means not quite enough reason to choose this place over other more established places (some of which have killer daily specials that offer even more value), unless you’re in the area or have a hankering for their moist, well-seasoned rotisserie chicken.